Skyway Jacks

Tell me, do you think my car would go faster if I had a paint job like this?

We’re blasting down the highway this morning to meet a Tampa Bay Breakfasts fan who gets the award for coming from the farthest distance just to have breakfast. We don’t want to be late. I took this picture while we were still in the driveway.

Gloomy weather again today. Looks like it might snow. (Keep it warm, Vancouver, ’cause it ain’t gonna snow here!)

Marek picked out the music. That’s right, Terrorfakt. Terrorfakt sounds a bit like two wet cats in a burlap sack. If the cats were made out of angry robots and had chainsaws. And the burlap sack was actually made from broken hacksaw blades. Marek seems to like it. I know I do.

I used to work in that building sometimes. I was this close to having a little tenth-floor office with a view of the bay, back in aught-six. Swing and a miss, as the baseball kids say.

We visited Skyway Jacks on 6 February 2011. This was our 68th visit to Skyway Jacks. Really just our 6th or 8th, but we wish it were 68. We like this place that much. Last time we were here was 7 November 2009. We awarded them the most prestigious, and in fact only specific Breakfast Award a bay-area restaurant can get, the 2009 Tampa Bay Breakfast of the Year.

Our arrival.

We look like movie stars.

Marek looks like a movie star. Marek looks like Justin Bieber.

Marek looks like I work for him.

I look like an analogue of Billy Ray Cyrus living off of his kid’s fame. But at least I have a leather Fonzi jacket. Marek does not.

Marek had a bizarre conversation with Humpty Dumpty. I was slow on the camera trigger and didn’t get a good shot, but one has to wonder what Humpty ever did to Marek. Humpty appears to be about 800 pounds of solid concrete.

It started raining. I hid under the giant chicken. Marek found this to be an hilarious event.

This is Marek looking at me taking a picture of him out in the rain while I’m dry under the giant chicken.

Marek stopped for a pack of smokes. Boy needs his Lucky Strikes.

After that picture above, I know what you’re thinking.

Exactly what you’re thinking.

You’ve got a scowl on your face. A disapproving scowl.

You’re thinking, Andy, while your four year is old buying cigarettes, it sure would be nice if you introduced your special long-distance Tampa Bay Breakfasts Guest Reviewers.

Sorry about that. Here’s our friends Phil and Atticus, all the way from Virginia just to have breakfast with us. (Phil’s the big one. He’s wearing shorts to taunt his friends back home.)

And, of course, this is Marek. And his old man, who is part of a Marek-fueled accelerated aging experiment where each minute ages him by an hour. I’m actually only 22 years old.

Atticus had to take a call from his broker. Marek’s not the only one who takes calls at breakfast. And he’s not the only pre-schooler with a broker.

While Phil and Atticus are sorting out how many shares of oatmeal Atticus is going to buy, me and Marek are goofin on four-year-old humor. Lucky for me, I was four once and never really lost my touch at burping.

The menu hasn’t changed. Still has our old favorites, scrapple for dad, scrambled eggs and pig brains for Marek. Somehow, our orders always end up being pancakes, and that’s probably for the best.

Marek took a long time to ponder the menu. Plus, he’s been learning to say “hypotenuse” so he’s got plenty going on up in that little pumpkin of his.

Notice how the guy in black, two tables over, has the exact same pose as Marek?

Atticus is a natural at this professional breakfast thing. Sitting a table in a loud, busy room, interacting with perfect strangers. Never missed a beat. Phil, too. A natural. We deputized them both as official representatives of breakfast. We just need to get badges made. Phil, this is worth putting on your resume.

We’ve had a breakfast or two here and there over the last few years. We can tell you about times when simple pancakes take 30 minutes in restaurants where there’s no other customers but us. And we can tell you about a slammed, line out the door place like Skyway Jacks where a whole lotta love, breakfast style, shows up in about 12 minutes. Barely time to roll cars back and forth with Atticus.

The first step: YOINK!

Then comes the high-fructose corn syrup, which will not win me “dad of the year” from the World Health Organization.

(Are you now wondering if WHO has a “dad of the year” award? Did you just google for it? Were you disappointed to find that they do not?)

Atticus had the oatmeal. It appeared to be deee-lish!

Marek says to Phil, out of the blue, “opossums are nocturnal.” I got it right here on camera.

Atticus got a bit of oatmeal approximately all over himself. Our very nice waitress gave him a scrubbing-down.

Can’t stay hyper without your smokes, your HFCS sugar, and your caffeine. I know how to raise a boy right.

The dedicated TBB reader is wondering, where’s the cars? Well, for some reason, they’re hidden behind the syrup.

The bill came. Twennyfive bigguns for breakfast for four. That’s not bad at all, especially considering that these are the best blueberry pancakes in the entire Tampa Bay sprawl.

Marek jumped into action. He is the Superhero of Breakfast!

If you look very closely, you’ll see Marek’s head over by the register. We saw that there was an extended conversation between Marek and the guy on the stool. No idea what they talked about, and that’s something I’ll never get to know.

I got almost all the change back. Marek held on to two quarters. He’s saving for a parachute. Seriously. He doesn’t know to take the quarters OUT of his pockets and put them in a jar or something, so I just get them back when we do laundry, but he’s pretty consistent in his new deal of taxing the change and saving it for a parachute.

And that’s how we wrap up one of the best breakfasts in Tampa Bay. Stay classy, Skyway Jacks!

As usual, Skyway Jacks delivers on all the things we love. Excellent pancakes, bacon, eggs, coffee, everything. Served quickly and for not much money. It’s loud, bustly, crowded, and full of crazy pigs and giant chickens and a 70’s cigarette machine. And it had our friends Phil and Atticus. There are places that try to be something like Skyway Jacks, and Skyway Jacks has its detractors who have good points to make, but I’ll say that what makes it work here is that Skyway Jacks ain’t tryin’ to be kooky-crazy, it just is what it is — and you, the visitor, are left to form your own opinions.

We’re pleased to re-confirm Skyway Jacks’ status as a Tampa Bay Breakfasts five pancake winner, and our first five pancake breakfast of 2011.

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Skyway Jack's on Urbanspoon

After breakfast, Marek and I offered to show Phil and Atticus around. “Put your kid in my car, Phil, and I’ll drive.” I’m sure at this particular moment Phil felt like he’d joined the clowns-in-a-tiny-car circus act.

But when we all got buckled in, it fit like a glove. We’ve got Atticus.

And we’ve got Marek.

We drove all over downtown St. Pete, pointing out all the breakfasts we’d had over the years. It’s usually at that point on the tour that I turn quietly and seriously to the passenger and point out that I am not a nutcase.

We cruised over the Skyway bridge and back. It’s a lovely, dramatic drive, especially in a car the size of a shoebox like mine is.

A lovely, dramatic, and sleepy ride.

When we got home, Favorite Guest Reviewer Mom handed me a sack of taters to carry around. Ivo had stayed home this morning for some quality mom-time.

And that’s the end of a great Tampa Bay Breakfast morning! Thanks, Phil and Atticus, for joining us!

2 thoughts on “Skyway Jacks

  1. Peter Thibado

    One of the greatest experiences of my life… One day happening upon Marek and Andy at Skyway Jacks, each time I go there my first glance around with anxious eyes is to see if my friends are there. A sigh and a low arm pump, I shuffle over to the b-bar where all the other lonely old men sit. Try to kick up a lively conversation with the young waitress, oh well… the pancakes are good. Nice review Andy! I love that big chicken!

    Reply
  2. Phil

    hey yo,

    as guest reviewers, we have to agree that the breakfast was pretty darn good, and the company was top notch, although, i’m not sure of marker’s choice in music … it did end up putting atticus to sleep. thanks again for having us on, i will be accepting our badge of honor for traveling the furtherst to come to one of your breakfasts, and i wouldn’t be surpirsed if a chain started up in the DC area … although I will have to think of a clever name for what we would call it in DC. I suppose i need to start training atticus to pay the checks, what training camp did you send marek to for this? and when are you going to start training ivo?

    will be happy to make another breakfast the next time we are down here. who knows when that will be!

    my rating … 5 Sleepy Atticus’s (out of 4) so that’s pretty good.

    Reply

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